Photo of the Day, Why I love Dutch parents, and NYC happenings

Published by Wednesday Martin

There is so much I love about this photo. As the mother of two boys, I swoon over everything pink, sparkly and girlie. Fortunately my youngest son used to love dress up, including princess attire. And I have twin god daughters. As to this photo, a little context: a Dutch friend was in town and we suggested a meet up at the bar at the Mark Hotel. I love the Mark Hotel. The location on E. 77th St is perfect as far as I'm concerned — the "near east side" is easy for a West Sider and gives the necessary feeling of being out of one's own neighborhood without ranging really far. I've lived at the Mark twice with my kids, each time during apartment renovations. My friend Isabel is the head concierge there, and they always take nice care of our family. (I spent one of the happiest Christmases of my life at the Mark, covered in hives, baking Christmas cookies on trays Jean-Georges Vongerichten let me borrow — the sugar cookies came out smelling like fish, which was entirely Jean-Georges's fault, but he ate them and very politely pronounced them delicious anyway, as did everyone else we shared them with--but that's another story)

In any case, my husband and I were surprised and delighted when our Dutch friend showed up with not only his wife, but their three children: a nine year old boy, a six and a half year old girl, and a three year old boy. If you know me, you know I love kids and am not so keen on the way we have created entirely separate spheres for children and adults in the industrialized West. We make such a big deal out of kids and at the same time, banish them to their own tables, schools and kid zones and keep them out of stores and restaurants and so on. In most of the world, that just doesn't happen — kids are simply part of the fabric of every day social life, going wherever grown ups go, a fact.

I wasn't sure about the rules, though, regarding kids in bars and lounges. Isabel had left for the night, so I asked another concierge, who smiled and said it was fine as long as the kids didn't drink. He's French, so what do you expect? When I told my Dutch friend's wife that it was ok, she laughed and said, "I'm Dutch so I just presume it's okay." I think it may have been the first time there were ever three kids at the Mark Hotel bar, which that evening was full of hipsters and fashion industry types. We all had a lovely time. My friend's six and a half year old daughter wore this sparkly pink dress, because she felt like it. Her mom looked hipster cool and comfy, and reminded me of what I love about Amsterdam and Dutch style. As one Dutch woman put it in this video about style in Amsterdam, "In Amsterdam you don't feel pressured to dress in any one way." Can you imagine anything further from the truth for us here in New York City, where are uniforms are so rigid and so neighborhood-specific?

On other topics, the snow is gone. We're into what I call "the Difficult Period" — the holidays are over, it's dark early, and city moms are their kids are feeling cooped up and a little crazy. We are tired of museums and Make. Now what?

Over the past weekend there was some tremendously sad and upsetting news. Nine year old Cooper Stock was killed by a cab while crossing the street with his dad on the Upper West Side. The cab driver was driving too fast, not paying attention, and now  a mother and father have lost their child forever. Friends and family remember Cooper as "spirited, beauty in motion." Three NYC children have been killed by negligent drivers in crosswalks in the past year. This is not the first time a cab driver was at the wheel. Unbelievably, in all cases, the driver got off with a misdemeanor slap on the wrist. The man who killed Cooper Stock got a summons and drove away from the scene. All the parents I know had the same response — "That could have been my child" "We've almost been hit by cabs in the crosswalk so many times" "I'm tired of insane, incompetent, unqualified cab drivers making life more dangerous than it has to be." David Yassky of the TLC has his work cut out for him, and he had better do something right now. Has he ever been to London? Maybe he should take a page from their book — maybe those who drive a potentially lethal object for a living should be more closely regulated, tested and quality controlled. In Manhattan our cab drivers by and large suck. The cabs are filthy and many of the drivers have no idea how to get you where you need to go, let alone how to do it safely. Enough already.